These 70-year old sea snake hunters are supernaturally fearless (video)
Watch Yoko and Setsuko descend into the dark watery caves to catch super venomous snakes with their bare hands.
We go to the market, buy slabs of assorted things splayed on foam trays and wrapped in plastic, and have little connection to what it is we are actually eating. This disconnect from the natural world and what it provides for us has all kinds of implications, not the least of which is that food and the organisms that provide it for us get far too little respect.
Imagine if we had to hunt or gather all the things we ate? Imagine if we had to wade thigh-high into coastal caves with bare feet in the pitch dark and wrestle super venomous snakes into bags to secure our supper?!
Welcome to the world of 70-year-old superhero hunters, Yoko and Setsuko, who live on Kudaka Island, a tiny island south of Okinawa and are master sea krait hunters.
The black-banded sea krait (known as erabu umi hebi or irabu in Japan) has few predators. With venom 10 times more potent than a rattlesnake, most things leave it alone – except for the fearsome and fearless Yoko and Setsuko who have been hunting sea snakes for 40 years in a tradition that has been passed down for centuries.
Somehow, the descent into the dark caves doesn't even faze the septuagenarians, nor does wading barefoot into the snake-squirming water and grabbing the snakes with their unprotected hands. These gals have chutzpah!
And while hunting anything leaves me a bit squeamish, there is so much to be said for catching what will be eaten – as the irabu is, smoked or served in soups. Suffice to say, Yoko and Setsuko definitely know where their food comes from. See them in action below.